Google Has Just ‘Weeks’ to Solve EU Problems or Face $5B Fine
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) now only has a couple weeks to provide the European Commission with new antitrust concessions after the ones it proposed in September were again denied by both the EU watchdog and a group of Google’s competitors.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Commission head Joaquin Almunia told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday that Google has one last chance to settlement the complaints, or the company will launch a formal investigation into the practices of Google’s search business in the EU. “I’m waiting for this last opportunity to solve this,” Almunia said. “We need more, not during the next year, but during the next weeks. I have not yet received this answer.”
If the Commission moves forward with an investigation, Google could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its global earnings, or $5 billion. Google couldn’t be reached by the Journal for a comment. The European Commission’s probe into Google’s search business began in 2010 upon a complaint from a group of Google’s competitors called Fairsearch, which counts Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) among its members. Google has been accused of favoring its own links over the links of rivals in its search results, copying content from other sites without permission, and overall using its dominance in the market to squash its competitors.